Book-signing set for Sept. 29
at Lewiston Public library

AUBURN — Catherine F. Bergeron-Bergeron, author of “Our Place in Line: A Franco-American Family Odyssey,” is having a book signing and slide presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Lewiston Public Library.

In her recently published book, the author, an Auburn native, takes readers on a 20,000-year journey of daring, imagination and endurance for those who seek to trace their roots from ancient Gaul to the 21st century United States via feudal France and colonial Quebec.

This is a comprehensive exploration of French surname origins with ancestral profiles representing a broad cross-section of Old Regime France. French history is described as it evolved from ancient Gaul, Celtic culture, Roman occupation, the establishment of the Frankish Empire of Charlemange, the Viking invasions, and the growth of the centralized feudal monarchy. This concise version of a complex European history is used by the author to place the first recordings of French surnames in context and is presented as a format for other avid genealogists.

After centuries of war and oppression in Europe, pioneers left France in the 1600s to colonize New France under the auspices of King Louis XIV. The narration of these decades provides a blueprint for Quebecois descendants to trace their specific ancestral participation the century-long series of French and Indian Wars, which preceded the American Revolution by a mere 13 years.

A century after the British conquest of New France, the great 19th- and 20th-century French-Canadian migration to the United States began, giving birth to the next evolution of North American French — the Franco-American. This sometimes quite personal account of Franco-American heritage is traced from the earliest recordings of several families who settled in the manufacturing and farming communities of Lewiston and Auburn. It is a heritage familiar to all Franco-Americans with elements applicable to other ethnic immigrants as they seek their niche, or as they find assimilation into the American culture.

 An avid collector of ancestral photos and anecdotal lore, which are liberally dispersed throughout, Bergeron-Bergeron published “”Our Place in Line: A Franco-American Family Odyssey,” as a tribute to her own Franco-American heritage. She was a reporter for the Lewiston Daily Sun during her college years and, in 1973, earned a bachelor of arts degree from Northeastern University College of Journalism, where she included every history course she could fit into her schedule.

Retired and devoted to her family, she recommends that the best approach when looking for ancient ancestors is to include the study of historic events, languages, locations and cultures, as well as individual documentation. “Leave no stone unturned when piecing together the complex puzzle of ancestry,” she said. “People are more than census, birth, marriage and deaths records. They are more than their very DNA. They are composites of what occurred before them, everything that happened around them, the daily events during their lifetimes and the anecdotal stories shared from generation-to-generation. All these contributed to the heritage they left their descendants. Collectively, their legacy is who we are today.”

“Our Place in Line,” was designed and produced with Indie Author Warehouse, Thomaston, and is available by order on-line and at local bookstores.

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